There will be huge sadness today at the news of Dame Vera Lynn’s death.
She was such an important figure during the Second World War, the nation’s sweetheart, the woman who lifted the country’s spirits when we needed it most.
And it’s remarkable that she has also touched more recent generations, particularly in the past few months.
Her death also holds a poignant wider significance because as one of the last, if not the last, of those great figures from the Second World War – it reinforces the fact that our links with that period are fading.
Dame Vera was an entertainer, often singing to the troops at great personal risk with songs such as We’ll Meet Again and There’ll Be Bluebirds Over The White Cliffs Of Dover.
She said of her role: “My songs reminded the boys of what they were really fighting for – precious, personal things rather than ideologies and theories.”
Still, today, she holds a special place in people’s hearts.
In March, she turned 103 and released a new video for We’ll Meet Again to raise money for the NHS.
It was accompanied by a message to the public in lockdown, to raise spirits once again.
She said: “We are facing a very challenging time at the moment and I know many people are worried about the future. I’m really encouraged that despite these struggles we have seen people joining together.”
We last heard from her in May, ahead of the 75th anniversary of VE Day, when she paid tribute to the “brave boys and what they sacrificed for us”.
At socially distanced street parties up and down the country, children joined their parents and grandparents singing her songs, proving her contribution to the country will live on for many years to come.